Transana is designed to allow researchers to work with large collections of data files. It provides tools and metaphors for organizing, analyzing and retrieving data, analytically important segments of these data, and transcripts associated with media files.


The Library node in Transana is where you organize your source text, PDF, or media files in Transana. Each of your original text and PDF files is imported as a Document in Transana, and each of your source media files is represented as an Episode. An Episode contains a media file (or can contain more than one overlapping media file, as from multiple cameras recording the same events) and can be associated with one or more Transcripts that are linked to the media file contents. You group related Episodes into Libraries; the Library describes the logical connection among sets of Documents and Episodes.


Analytic data, extracted from raw data, falls under the Collections node within Transana. The basic units of analysis in Transana are the Quote for text, the Clip for media data, the Snapshot for still image data, and the PDF Quote or PDF Snapshot for PDFs (depending on your analytic needs). Quotes (including PDF Quotes) and Clips are portions of Documents and Episodes that you identify as analytically meaningful. Snapshots (including PDF Snapshots) represent still image data you bring into your analysis.  Quotes, Clips and Snapshots are organized into thematic Collections. With time, your Collection structure will likely reflect the theoretical understanding of your data that you develop through your qualitative analysis. The Collection containing a Quote, Clip or Snapshot indicates one aspect of what is analytically significant about that Quote, Clip or Snapshot.


Your coding structure is developed under the Keywords node within Transana. Quotes, PDF Quotes, Clips, Snaphots, and PDF Snapshots can be coded through the assignment of Keywords. A Keyword is a label that you define that represents a concept that you want to identify within your data or study. Quotes, PDF Quotes, Clips, Snapshots, and PDF Snapshots can have multiple Keywords. Keywords are organized into Keyword Groups. Your Keyword structure can also reflect the theoretical structure of your qualitative analysis.


First, Transana works through the process of making selections in your data. You select a portion of text or a transcript or a media file or a PDF or a still image. This selection is your analytic unit.

Second, you may have noticed that Transana provides two ways to indicate what is analytically significant about selections from your data. You can code your selections using Keywords and you can categorize by placing them in Collections. Both of these options provide you with ways to indicate what is analytically significant about a selection, and give you tools for manipulating your selections as you proceed with your analysis and achieve insights into your data.